From terminal to take off, the Chinese digital yuan is changing payment methods across the aviation industry

Photo: VCG

China’s digital currency has started integration with the aviation industry in recent months, including tickets and airports, and more scenarios are expected to be added as the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics approach. .

Xiamen Airlines said in a note sent to the Global Times on Wednesday that it launched the first ticket paid in digital yuan on Tuesday.

Currently, travelers who reside in digital yuan pilot cities can apply to Bank of China, Agricultural Bank of China, and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China to access digital yuan services. Passengers who purchase airline tickets from the official national Xiamen Airlines website can also use the digital yuan to make prompt payments.

The digital yuan is particularly well suited to in-flight payment situations where in-cabin WiFi is not provided or available, meeting the needs of passengers paying for goods or services during flights, Xiamen Airlines said in the note. .

Xiamen Airlines is the latest example of private sector adoption of digital currency, with competitor Spring Airlines launching a digital yuan trial earlier in 2021.

In April, Spring Airlines placed an order for 560 yuan ($ 87) paid in digital yuan for a plane ticket from Shanghai to Shenzhen, marking the start of digital currency payment in China’s civil aviation industry.

The ticket was purchased by a Shenzhen resident nicknamed Shui during Spring Airlines’ digital currency trial, the first plane ticket purchased in digital yuan.

Zhang Wu’an, a spokesperson for Spring Airlines, told the Global Times that the digital yuan can be used to purchase airline tickets. It can be applied in the terminal at the end of the month, and the carrier plans to expand its use to in-flight sales next year.

Airlines are not alone. Airports are also accepting the new payment method.

In October, Beijing Capital International Airport launched a digital yuan pilot service, passengers can use digital currency in airport stores, in addition to paying for airport parking.

The airport said it will realize the digital yuan collection function covering more than 110 outlets and all parking lots in the facility by September 2021.

The digital yuan trial is in full swing across China. Since the end of 2019, the People’s Bank of China (PBC) has launched pilot experiments to use the digital yuan in dozens of places, including cities like Shenzhen and Suzhou and the new Xiongan area.

The digital yuan will also be used during the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.

Yi Gang, the governor of the PBC earlier said that the development of legal digital tender is conducive to effectively satisfying the public demand for legal tender, improving the convenience, security and level of anti-counterfeiting of goods. retail payments, while stimulating the accelerated development of China’s digital economy.

The upcoming Winter Olympics are seen as an important driving force for the commercial expansion of digital currency.

Officials said it will fully support the construction of the payment environment for the Winter Olympics and accelerate the promotion of the pilot works.

Fan Yifei, deputy governor of the PBC, said in July that the Beijing Olympic Winter Games in 2022 would be a key testing area.

At present, the digital yuan application scenarios are constantly expanding, covering utilities, food services, transportation, purchasing and government affairs. Industry demand may enter a period of acceleration.

Currently, 1.55 million merchants support digital yuan wallets.

The digital yuan has significant application potential, which has attracted the participation of many financial institutions, including traditional banks and third-party payment institutions.

Mu Changchun, director of the PBC Digital Currency Research Institute, said that as of October 22, 140 million digital yuan personal wallets and 10 million corporate wallets have been opened. China’s digital yuan transactions reached 62 billion yuan as of October 22 this year.

The digital yuan is an important platform for future currency development projects. The active development of digital yuan-related business can increase revenue growth and maintain the pace of innovation in payment methods. Its real value to businesses will become more apparent as its popularity grows, Spring Airlines’ Zhang told the Global Times.

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